Ripple Effect: Communicating Water Quality Data through Sonic Vibrations

Dorsey B. Kaufmann, Nima Hamidi, Kunal Palawat, Monica Ramirez-Andreotta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Pollution in real time can be incredibly powerful, but is difficult to communicate. Persistent deterioration of land, air, and water are largely invisible to the eye and camera lens. What if water itself could visualize its quality and perform the level of contamination? Ripple Effect is an environmental art installation that reveals water contamination through sonic vibrations and light. Using software technology, water contamination levels are translated into sound waves. The installation consists of speakers that play gdata sound tracks', which vibrate water held in attached trays. Participants see and hear the water vibrate based on contaminant concentrations. This paper describes the concept, data-To-sound process, implementation, and participant evaluation surrounding the installation of Ripple Effect in communities neighboring resource extraction and other industrial activity. While there are many existing artworks that visualize environmental quality, Ripple Effect is novel in its use of local water quality data and interactive technology that allows the primary medium, water, to communicate directly with the participant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationC and C 2021 - Proceedings of the 13th Conference on Creativity and Cognition
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450383769
StatePublished - Jun 22 2021
Event13th Conference on Creativity and Cognition, C and C 2021 - Virtual, Online, Italy
Duration: Jun 22 2021Jun 23 2021

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference13th Conference on Creativity and Cognition, C and C 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • data visualization
  • environment
  • environmental art
  • environmental education
  • interactive art
  • sound art
  • Sound computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Ripple Effect: Communicating Water Quality Data through Sonic Vibrations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this